Matt Harrison
Matt Harrison


Matt Harrison

Dad, designer & dev, DTEC didact & dean. Matt is a UK trained digital media creative (graphic designer & full stack web dev) turned ICT teacher and agile herder of cats. Dad of 4, coding and kung fu enthusiast.


How to we're trying to train for next-gen devs and resuscitate CS
Hot & New Breakout Session

My back story... I've taught high school NZ students for 12 years and in that time we've gone from being a Microsoft Office Specialist teaching basic skills to computational thinking & programming by developing apps with Scratch, HTML & CSS / Javascript / PHP / MySQL.
Last year I was challenged to make an 'awesome' new Y12 DTEC course for the brand new NZ Digital Technology Curriculum, that will be both 'sexy' and 'fun' to boost student engagement. Hopefully it will create a 'word of mouth' buzz to boost student numbers.
My school has 2 courses: Digital Technology and Computer Science, the more academic kids are doing Computer Science. On average, the DTEC students are more visual learners and less abstract thinkers.
Having loved playing on HTC Vive at Te Papa's Hinatori Lab and Vic University's CS4HS I decided to do a VR project. My wero or challenge how to make noobs learn VR - inside the constraints of time and money: 3.5 hours per week for 1 term's teaching / assessment and a meagre $10.
Now... You may all resent teachers their long summer holidays but mine was a self imposed bootcamp on research and development 'advanced' Level 2 & 'complex' Level 3 skills with assessment writing. My mission: teach students with limited coding experience, and in some cases limited English, how to design, build and test a webVR app to brand new national standards (with no national exemplars in this area). So with nothing set in stone, I get to write the course to suit the interests of the kids. So, lets dive in with the Hello World with some primitives... then we can get into Fortnight dances and animation...